USA - Yes, they can!
The United States is the third-largest nation on the planet in terms of both land area (after Russia and Canada) and population (after China and India). Every conceivable climate zone can be found in the US, from hot deserts to arctic frost. Thanks to immigration from all over the world, the US is probably the most multicultural country on the planet. Thus it has the ideal conditions for producing internationally recognized wine.
White wines from USA
Red wines from USA
Europeans landed on the North American continent 500 years before Columbus. In 982, the Icelandic Viking Lief Eriksson reached American shores and, on seeing its many wild vines with massive berries, named the land “Vinland.”
Wine has only truly been cultivated here, however, since the 16th century. The first vineyards were established in 1562 by French Huguenots, in what is now the state of Florida. Large-scale viticulture began 200 years later, when the gold rush lured adventurers from around the world to California. Many of these immigrants brought European wine knowledge with them.
The role of politics
Late 17th century Spanish missionaries brought European vines to California, which came to enjoy great popularity.
President Thomas Jefferson was a great lover of wine, and he promoted wine culture. He believed that the American public could use wine to abstain from stronger alcoholic beverages like whiskey. He thus levied a high tax on all alcoholic beverages except American wines.
The Wine State
Today, grape vines are cultivated in each of America's 50 states – even Alaska.
However, it is California that should be called “the Wine State,” as 90 percent of American wine is vinified there. Of the approximately 2,200 wineries in the USA, more than 1,000 are located in California. But Washington and Oregon are surreptitious challengers to California’s crown.
In the USA, wine is often viewed as a luxury rather than an everyday product, and it is considerably more expensive than in Europe. As a consequence of Prohibition, even today wine bottles can usually only be carried in opaque packaging.
Prohibition was the nationwide ban on the sale, production and transport of alcohol, which lasted from 1920 to 1932. It was also called “The Noble Experiment.”
Incidentally, the first commercially managed winery in the US was founded by the Swiss Jean Jacques Dufour in 1798. Along with a few friends, Dufour founded KVS (the Kentucky Vineyard Society), which still exists today.